Vivendi plans to distribute 60% of UMG capital to shareholders, list it by year-end

FILE PHOTO: French media giant Vivendi's logo in Paris
FILE PHOTO: French media giant Vivendi's logo is pictured at the main entrance of the entertainment-to-telecoms conglomerate headquarters in Paris, France, August 12, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

February 15, 2021

By Dominique Vidalon

PARIS (Reuters) – Vivendi said on Saturday it planned to distribute 60% of Universal Music’s capital to investors, subject to shareholder approval, and aimed to list its most-prized asset, home to singers such as Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift, by the end of the year.

The plan to list Universal represents part of a process launched by Vivendi’s top shareholder French billionaire Vincent Bollore to cash in on the music industry’s revival.

“Vivendi’s leading institutional shareholders have been pressing for a number of years for a split or the distribution of Universal Music Group (UMG) to reduce Vivendi’s conglomerate discount,” Vivendi said in a statement.

The French conglomerate said the distribution would take the form of a special dividend.

UMG, a holding company currently being incorporated in the Netherlands, will apply for a listing on Euronext in Amsterdam.

The transaction has received a favorable response from the consortium led by China’s tech group Tencent, which now controls 20% of UMG, having bought the stake in two successive waves that valued UMG at 30 billion euros ($36.35 billion), Vivendi said.

Vivendi said it would hold an extraordinary shareholders meeting on March 29 to modify the company’s by-laws and make the distribution possible.

In addition, Vivendi will propose to distribute a 0.60 euros per share dividend for its 2020 fiscal year at a shareholders meeting scheduled for June 22.

($1 = 0.8252 euros)

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon. Editing by Jane Merriman)